An Important Napoleon III Exhibition-Quality
Ormolu-Mounted Carved Cabinet
By Maison Guéret of Paris
A tour-de-force glazed boxwood cabinet celebrating the art of woodcarving, the monumental vitrine of slight breakfront proportions, with rounded corners, all surfaces carved with the most exquisite designs and refined detail with ormolu banding, the base of tripartite design, the central cupboard door with a carved roundel depicting a triumphant muse, flanked by two doors with carved musical trophies enclosing a single adjustable-shelved interior, the frieze incorporating a further three drawers with slides above; the superstructure with three glazed casements separated by carved and fluted pilasters with ionic capitals; enclosing a red velvet-lined and shelved interior; the tripartite pediment each with rounded cornices, the central tympanum carved with laurel leaves and instruments of the arts & wisdom topped with a carved finial and a draped lambrequin below, the flanking entablatures with cartouches depicting Bacchus and Ariadne below urn finials with carved Vitruvian scrolls and ribbon-tied cascading bunches of laurel leaves, the symbol of triumph. Signed on the cartouche "Guéret Frères / Paris" and bearing the maker's stamp twice "Guéret Fres Paris 246 rue de Lafayette."
French, Circa 1870
Guéret was awarded the Légion d'honneur at the 1867 exhibition, where the firm exhibited a carved display cabinet in an eclectic style which bears distinct similarities to the present vitrine. Excelling in the art of carved furniture, the firm was awarded the gold medal for their craftsmanship.
An important commission for M. Bryce completed prior to 1876 included a bureau-vitrine in the same style, while the inventory of his home at 4 avenue Gabriel in Paris also records "une bibliothèque de style Louis XVI, en buis sculpté" which may be a reference to the present cabinet. Today, the prestigious address is home to the US embassy.
Dimensions: H: 119.5 in / 304 cm | W: 61 in / 155 cm | D: 19.5 in / 49 cm
Guéret Frères of Paris
The Messrs Guéret furniture manufactory was founded by Denis-Desiré (born in 1828) and Onésimus (born 1830) in 1853 at 7 rue Buffault in Paris trading as "Guéret Frères". Subsequently trading from 5 Bvd. de la Madeleine in 1863, and thence transferring to 246 Rue Lafayette in 1870. From 1877, the company's title became "Guéret Jeune et Cie" and its activity continued until 1900.
Examples of their work may be seen in the Musée Condé, Chantilly, Musée d'Orsay, San Francisco Museum of Fine Art and the Victorian & Albert Museum, London.